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Possible Next Poland Manager

Dumitru Palanchuk
Dumitru Palanchuk
14 September 2023, 13:09

Fernando Santos won the UEFA 2016 Euro with Portugal but his tenure with Poland was much less successful. The 68-year-old gaffer took over the Eagles at the start of 2023 and since then, Poland has recorded two wins and three losses in five competitive games as well as a friendly win over Germany. 

The team’s struggles in the UEFA 2024 Euro is what led to Santos being fired. Poland currently sit in fourth place in group E behind Czechia, Albania and even Moldova. With three matches left, the Poles are in real danger of missing out on the European Championship, but that is for the next Poland manager to figure out.

List of Potential Next Poland Manager

As per reports in the media, the leading candidates to become the next Poland manager are Michal Probierz and Marek Papszun. Former coach Adam Nawalka is also on the list, as well as other experienced coaches.

Michal Probierz

Michal Probierz is the current coach of Poland U21 and is touted as the one with the highest chances of taking charge of the senior national team. Probierz took charge of Poland U21 in July 2022 and, after a slow start, has managed to improve their game, making them leaders in their U21 UEFA 2025 Euro qualifying group. 

The biggest argument in Probierz’s favour is not his work at Poland U21 but rather his good relationship with the current president of the Polish Football Association, Cezary Kukesza. The two worked together at Jagiellonia Bialystok between 2014 and 2017 when Probierz led the team to a historic second-place finish in the 2016/17 Ekstraklasa. 

Probierz previously coached Jagiellonia Bialystok between 2008 and 2011 too, winning the Polish Cup and Polish Super Cup. In 2010, Probierz was named coach of the year in Poland. He also has a Polish Cup and Polish Super Cup to his name with Cracovia in 2020. 

Marek Papszun

Marek Papszun is arguably the most successful Polish coach of the last five years. He was appointed by Rakow Czestochowa in 2016 when the team was still in the third division, having previously coached in the fifth and fourth tiers of Polish football. Within three years, the 49-year-old technician took the club to Ekstraklasa, Poland's top division. 

In charge of Rakow, Papszun won two Polish Cups and two Polish Super Cups. And, most importantly, Rakow won their first ever league title in 2022/23, allowing them to play Champions League qualification football in the new season. However, Papszun left the club in the summer on contract expiry.

Despite his remarkable achievements, though, there reportedly are some reservations regarding Papszun’s appointment as he is very controlling of his players and this may not sit well with Poland’s veterans.

Adam Nawalka

Adam Nawalka is the only name on the list of potential next Poland managers that already has experience of coaching the national team. He was an assistant coach at the Eagles in the late 2000s and then the head coach between 2013 and 2018. 

Nawalka was hired for the job in November of 2013 as previous manager Waldemar Fornalik was sacked after failing to qualify for the FIFA 2014 World Cup. Under Nawalka, Poland reached the quarter-finals of UEFA Euro 2016 and the group stages of FIFA 2018 World Cup, with the coach registering 26 wins in 50 matches.

Nawalka left his spot after finishing bottom of the group in Russia. He returned to club football for a short while in 2018/19, signing with Lech Poznan. However, he was fired after 11 games in charge and has been out of work since then.

Jan Urban

Similar to Adam Nawalka, Jan Urban worked as an assistant coach for Poland at the UEFA 2008 Euro. However, he never got the chance to become the head coach, having primarily worked in club football – mostly in Poland, but he also had a stint at Osasuna in Segunda Division in the 2014/15 season. 

Urban's top achievements as a coach are the five trophies he won with Legia Warsaw, including the 2012/13 and 2013/14 Ekstraklasa titles. He also won the Polish Super Cup with Lech Poznan in 2016.

The 61-year-old is currently employed at Gornik Zabrze where he is coaching Lukas Podolski among others. It is his second stint at the club, returning in March this year when the team was facing relegation and eventually leading them to a sixth-place finish. 

Macej Skorza

Although not the oldest on the list, Maciej Skorza is the most experienced coach among the candidates. The 51-year-old started his journey all the way back in 1994 as a youth coach at Legia Warsaw. His early CV includes assistant roles at Poland U21 (1997-99) and Poland (2003-06), among others.

His first job at the top level was with Amica Wronki in 2004/05 when he led them to UEFA Cup qualification. Skorza would later work with local giants like Wisla Krakow, Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznan. Over the course of his career in Poland, the 51-year-old won nine trophies, including four Ekstrakalasa titles. 

Skorza currently coaches Urawa Red Diamonds in Japan with whom he won the Asian Champions League in 2022. The Pole has a contract until January 2024 with Urawa but Skorza may be ready to leave his club if the national team comes calling.